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johnnyglassatx

Helix for Bass & Elec Guitar Sideman - Questions?

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Hello all. New user, long time lurker. Just pulled the trigger on a Helix Floor along with a Mackie Thump 15 and had some questions.

I play in Austin, TX with a couple of different cover bands, and within those bands, some nights I'm playing bass, some nights I'm on lead electric guitar. I have gotten really tired of having to change my pedal board up depending on the gig/band/instrument I'm playing. I had extensively thought about a Kemper, but went to the Helix after seeing a friend use one and the editor/UI looked so much easier, and the Helix seemed to have better bass options. These cover band gigs are played to drunk people, and if I can get 98% of the way there with my tone, they'll never be able to tell. Also, I use Westone IEMs, just as an aside.

 

Couple things I wanted to ask.

- Is the Mackie Thump 15 my best bet if I want something that can handle both Electric Guitar and 4-string Electric Bass? I've seen some users post that they can get a pretty flat sound there, and the Thump's seem to have the widest freq range of any FRFR powered speaker I've found. (Need to get down to 41Hz for a low E on a 4 string bass)

 

- I use an ambient stage mic for my IEMs, since most of the groups I play with don't mic everything (small stages on 6th mainly). Since I'm not going to be wireless at the Helix, Could I run my ambient mic into the XLR/Mic In, my board feed of monitor sends into the Aux In, and guitar into the guitar in, and then route the Mic In and Aux In to the headphone output only, and not to the main outs of the system?

 

- If I do as outlined in #2 above, and I'm running a Mackie Thump onstage, but want to put it into the house as well, would you do 1x XLR out (left/mono) to the house, and then one of the 1/4" outs to the Mackie simultaneously?

 

Sorry for the above questions, but I've done some searching and hadn't found anyone asking the exact question for this kind of situation.

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I don't have any experience with the Mackie thump 15 but using a FRFR monitor will definitely be good for doing both Electric and bass (and acoustic). Set your output to multi and you can send your output to the board through xlr and your monitor on instrument cable but if you are not running your rig stereo you could make sure your guitar/bass sound is collapsed to mono then send a Xlr to your monitor and the other to the board and they should both get the same sound.

If I remember correctly you can send your aux in and mic input into a path that runs into a digital output (as long as you are not actually using it) so that the sound doesnt go to the board or the monitor but it should still go to the headphones.

This video might be a good reference on how to set some of it up:


He has some good videos on how to set up the helix in different ways 

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I was in a similar situation, I Haved not looked back since I started using the Helix. I use it for bass, keyboards and mandolin in the same gigs. Your questions:

 

1) Mackie Thump as the optimum FRFR:

Bass is a bit tricky for FRFR loudspeakers. Using tops with sub-woofers is too much to monitor a bass onstage. Using SOME tops without subs is sometimes too little to monitor bass on-stage. I would say that at certain price / weight / power, PA FRFR speakers without tops are sometimes a tad weaker than some typical bass amps. That said the Mackie Thump should be more than enough to hear yourself in reasonable conditions. A very good trade off between price, weight and sound pressure if you go the FRFR way.

 

In my rig I decided to build my own bass-specific speaker, but I considered the thump to be a good sub-optimum.

 

In the market you can find slightly better options... at much higher price. If interested, take a look at Barefaced 12'' active speakers (and the explanation why they are ideal as bass monitors). Slightly better performance at significantly higher price... Market is not so big!

 

2) You might need to use one of the 4 possible paths for this. But definitely possible. You'll quickly learn to create new patches that contain certain standard configuration, like the "personal monitoring path".

 

3) Definitely! I sometimes use 1/4 outs for my FRFR, sometimes I use left and right XLR one to PA, the other to my FRFR monitor (I take advantage that I never use stereo paths!).

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In terms of the Mackie Thump, we use one with our drummer when he's playing an electronic kit for stage volume.  That one's a few years old so they may have upgraded it a bit.  Personally, I'm looking to trade that in on a Yamaha DXR12 as it's a bit underpowered and to my ear it's a bit flubby on the bass.  We used a DXR12 on the kit a couple of months ago and placed it on the floor in the monitor position with the "monitor" selection switch off which then allowed for bass coupling and kick drum was both very full but well articulated.  I know the DXR12 works great for guitar as that's what I commonly use on stage for my monitor.  You're probably best off trying out a few to find what meets your needs.  My impression in this area is you get what you pay for.  QSC and Yamaha cost a bit more, but their performance is well worth it.

 

In terms of your IEMs, there's no explicit output selection for headphones which is what you're looking for.  There's no problem with allocating a signal chain so that the ambient microphone and bass are isolated from the monitor/FOH feed.  So I guess my first approach would be to route that IEM signal path output to something that's not being used like the USB  just so that it's not going out the 1/4" or XLR outputs which are reserved for other purposes.  The headphone output would still be active I assume no matter what along with it's own headphone volume knob.

 

My typical setup is pretty much exactly what you're describing.  I use a 1/4" L/Mono out to the stage speaker and the XLR L/Mono out to the FOH.  On the FOH line I always use a phantom power blocker just to protect from a sound man turning it on as it can create some noise.  The way I set things ups is I configure my XLR out to be Mic Level and it doesn't use the Master Volume knob, so it basically sends a full signal to the board that the sound man can gain stage appropriately.  The !/4" output is routed to my DXR12 at Line level and does respond to the Master Volume knob.  That way any adjustments I make onstage won't affect the signal going to the board.

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In terms of the Mackie Thump, we use one with our drummer when he's playing an electronic kit for stage volume.  That one's a few years old so they may have upgraded it a bit.  Personally, I'm looking to trade that in on a Yamaha DXR12 as it's a bit underpowered and to my ear it's a bit flubby on the bass.  We used a DXR12 on the kit a couple of months ago and placed it on the floor in the monitor position with the "monitor" selection switch off which then allowed for bass coupling and kick drum was both very full but well articulated.  I know the DXR12 works great for guitar as that's what I commonly use on stage for my monitor.  You're probably best off trying out a few to find what meets your needs.  My impression in this area is you get what you pay for.  QSC and Yamaha cost a bit more, but their performance is well worth it.

 

In terms of your IEMs, there's no explicit output selection for headphones which is what you're looking for.  There's no problem with allocating a signal chain so that the ambient microphone and bass are isolated from the monitor/FOH feed.  So I guess my first approach would be to route that IEM signal path output to something that's not being used like the USB  just so that it's not going out the 1/4" or XLR outputs which are reserved for other purposes.  The headphone output would still be active I assume no matter what along with it's own headphone volume knob.

 

My typical setup is pretty much exactly what you're describing.  I use a 1/4" L/Mono out to the stage speaker and the XLR L/Mono out to the FOH.  On the FOH line I always use a phantom power blocker just to protect from a sound man turning it on as it can create some noise.  The way I set things ups is I configure my XLR out to be Mic Level and it doesn't use the Master Volume knob, so it basically sends a full signal to the board that the sound man can gain stage appropriately.  The !/4" output is routed to my DXR12 at Line level and does respond to the Master Volume knob.  That way any adjustments I make onstage won't affect the signal going to the board.

 

I do exactly the same thing. 1/4" outputs to to my two JBL EON610s setup as backline behind me and controlled by the Helix output. My IEM monitor is my own mix out our our X32-Core and two SD-16's. I use two busses in the X32-Core and two outputs in one of the SD-16s into a Behringer stereo headphone amp that is mounted on my mic stand. I have hearing issues, so I really need to have the IEMs and my own mix or I couldn't play.

 

One issue - with 4 out of 5 of us using IEMs, and using acoustic drums and stage amps (except for keys which are direct FOH only), we don't really have good control of our stage volume - because we feel it, but don't hear it. This is getting too complex to run without help from a sound man.

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